February 26, 2012

To Everything There Is A Season

I don't love award shows, with the exception of the Grammys. But award show season reminds me of my time in LA. I didn't realize there was a season to it all until I spent a college semester in LA. I was there for award show season and pilot season, which seemed to over lap, interning at a talent agency. It was a semester of growth more than a semester of academic learning or glitz and glamor. It was, by far, the hardest semester of college I experienced, and I walked away with bittersweet memories. Yet, every year (for the past six years now) I feel an old pull towards LA and the days I spent at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland. I wrote the below post when I was living in rural Vermont two years after my LA semester.
16th January, 2006. 10:16 pm. 
Tall, white and slightly boxy, the Beverly Hilton looks the same as it did two years ago. The sun gleams off the white exterior in the same exuberant manner, while accentuating the lush green trees and shrubbery surrounding the building. It gives off the impression of a tropical paradise rather than the desert that it is. Two years ago I did not spend the evening watching the Golden Globes. Rather I was asleep, probably by nine, still suffering from jet lag and more second thoughts that I expected. 
We did watch the Academy Awards. They shut down Hollywood Blvd for the entire week before. Stuck in the routine traffic jam traveling south on Highland Avenue, we watched the handful of workers line the four-lane street with a red carpet and erect a larger than life statue of a gold naked man. It seemed as normal and routine as our forty-five minute commute to our internships, a mere eight miles away, and the eight dollar parking fee to see the twelve dollar movie. 
I believe I met Andrew* a few days after the Academy Awards. A rescue from paper cuts, crooked staples, drawers of black and white headshots and endless resumes. A rescue from Gabe, with the too short pants who always gave careful instructions on how to baby-sit the fax machine, a rescue from the mute grey cabinets and sterile white walls. 
A few doors down and over Andrew’s shoulder was Beverly Hills. Composed entirely of windows, the “wall” behind Andrew’s desk painted every fantasy I had ever dreamed of southern California: lush and green, although once again only a fa├žade over the actual desert terrain. But in Andrew’s office I didn’t mind so much, and I never understood why he positioned his desk with his back to it all. Perhaps he was afraid of heights. 
Only slightly older than I, he often sat with his shoes off behind his cherry desk and we’d listen to Frank Sinatra, or occasionally Eminem, as the hours passed. He made sure I listened into all of his phone calls, I think mostly so he could have somebody to make fun of the industry people with. He never took anyone in entertainment seriously, and his office became a place of mediation between my growing loathing of the entertainment industry and my constant immersion in it. He would call his “crazy ex-girlfriend” and ask me to stay on the line and then make faces as she spoke; she was a true Hollywood stereotype. Andrew held my sanity for most of the semester. 
The internship really holds the only coherent memories I have of those months. The others move from warm swimming pools to the blinking lights of a Melrose psychic at midnight. Most of my memories revolve around car rides: Sunset blvd on a Friday night, Muholland on a sunny day, a drive through Bel Air on Easter Sunday and “the 5” at 11pm on a Thursday night. Mostly I remember coloring books and trips to Ralph’s for bulk candy, the scent of the old BMW and Radio Disney, the only station it received. Writing by the light of my vanilla candle at night and falling asleep to Dashboard…usually twice, because the four am entrances by my roommates were anything but quiet. 
On Highland Avenue, stood Shrek, announcing his re-appearance on the big screen on May 19th on a quite sizable billboard. The ad appeared most likely in late February and the first time, and every time, I saw it I could only think that I would be back on the east coast when he finally stormed theaters again. The time almost always seemed to be creeping by. That was two years ago and I still remember that date, May 19th 2004. 
Sometimes you need some tinsel to appreciate the granola.
I wanna glide down over Muholland [...] All the street lights say never mind, never mind. All the canyon lines say never mind. Sunset says we see it all the time, never mind, never you mind.**

*Names, privacy, etc.
** Lyrics mishmash
***I knew it was an awkward picture even as I took it, yet it remains the only picture of myself from Hollywood and Highland. 


  1. You look SO young in this photo! Wow! :)

  2. Hahaha I was so young - only 20! Almost ten years ago... wow.